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Hustler Z surging and stalling

Discussion in 'Hustler Turf Equip (Archived)' started by ZOOFULL, Apr 27, 2005.


    ZOOFULL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    cut to the bottom if you get bored with long posts, there will be the condensed version :D

    I purchased my 60" cut 23HP Kawasaki Hustler Z in July 2001 and was immediately impressed and in love with it, as I had been cutting about 4 acres of ground with a Yardman! I live in a very sloped and hilly area, and this machine outperformed several others on these steep slopes in the testing phase before my purchase, including a Bobcat. I am familiar with tractor roll-overs up close and personal, so this kind of safe operation was absolutely necessary and much appreciated. Anyhoo, on to the gist of my complaints now...

    Late last summer my Z started to show signs of sputtering. The only problem I had with the beast until then was a huge tendency for it to break the 1/2" deck wheel bolts (prolly 10 a year).

    The problem showed itself at first like a slight "miss" occasionally when pulling a load, and eventually, over a couple months, it led to "surging" at idle and complete failure while cutting 5" high grass after only a couple of feet. The sputtering seemed to only occur after the engine warmed up (about an hour of cutting) at first but over the course of that couple of months it got to the point of "fouling" from the start of the engine. Even without the blades engaged it would not pull my front yard (sloped) without dying!

    In that several month decline from occasional sputtering to eventually complete stalling, I went through a series of maintenance steps (and several tanks of gas), starting with the spark plug change, to air filter (and pre-filter), fuel filter, and changing out the fuel pump. When I could no longer cut grass with the Z due to poor performance, and had exhausted my technical expertise, I took it in October into the shop for a fix.

    They cleaned the carb and adjusted the coil pack and sent it back home. I only used it twice after that until putting it away for the winter, but on the second run it showed symptoms of sputtering again. I broke it out this spring and on the second run again, it began the same process as last summer (after running about an hour, like clockwork it began to sputter, and within minutes it would not cut grass without dying), so I packed it up and took it back to the shop.

    They thought I was nuts at first because they were not able to get it to exhibit the problem (despite their use of the mower to cut "heavy" grass for about a half an hour). But they were simply not cutting long enough to cause the problem to kick in. So, I took it home at their insistence, and the very same day that I took it home, after one hour of cutting, the problem appeared again as predicted! I took it back the next day and told them to let it run at idle for an hour then cut grass with it. They did this and still saw no problem supposedly. I then told them to let it run at idle for an hour and engage the blades for the duration of that time before cutting with it. They did not follow that prescription but instead, they let it run at idle for 3 hours, without the blades engaged, and then cut with it and discovered "the miss".

    They said they would change out the gas, the fuel lines, put dry gas in (because they suspected, and found, water), clean the carb, and adjust the coil pack again. After doing this, the machine stalled on them before they even took it out for a test cut on their property. They re-adjusted the pack and re-tested it by cutting some grass again(supposedly), and then sent it home with me.

    I unloaded it from the trailer last nite in the pouring rain(had been raining all day and wasnt about to stop), and it seemed to sputter several times (without the blades engaged of course) on the way to the shed. :angry:

    I understand (from reading on this forum, and talking to a Hustler customer service rep) that there was some kind of bulletin for externally vented carbs, and that this sputtering problem is not uncommon with Kawasaki engines, but I NEED MY MOWER BACK!



    Surging at idle.
    Stalls and sputters after about an hours run, then minutes later, complete failure to cut more than a few feet.
  2. mowerconsultant

    mowerconsultant LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Syracuse, NY
    Messages: 9,769

    E-mail me your information, your dealers information and the model and serial # of your mower and engine.
    I will forward it to the regional rep and the factory and get you taken care of.


    ZOOFULL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    I'll email you the info when I get home at about 5:00 Eastern Standard Time.

  4. gps_jetskier

    gps_jetskier LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    Except the rest of us would like an update when it's done. I have that same mower. No problems, but the forum works best when we get the news too.

    How's your paint on the deck?


    ZOOFULL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    My deck is a little rough for the wear, but I dont think the paint is any worse than normal wear and tear.

    ZOOFULL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    Just got back in from using the mower. After 1 hour and 20 minutes she gave up the ghost again!

    Spit and sputter, kathud, kaplooey.
  7. gps_jetskier

    gps_jetskier LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    1) EDIT by Mowerconsultant.... never disable any safety features on a mower, it is not safe.

    2) There isn't anything in the muffler is there. Mouse home? On the mouse note, check the ign wires. Had a mouse eat the insulation off the wires of my deisel once and a mini bike. The mini bike would idle fine, but under load it sputtered. It was crossed wires.

    3) Fuel filters replaced I'm sure.

    4) On this forum someone stated that they had a problem with an intake manifold. I guess the parts could expand with heat and cause the gasket to leak. After a while it would probably leak all the time.

    5) Another stated that the carbs although look clean, appearently are not. You could aske the dealer to swap out the carb for a test.

    6) Yet another states "Re-route the fuel line AWAY from the engine. The extreme heat from the engine & the fuel line laying up next to the engine causes > perk-u-lation< of the fuel from the engine heat." Although this was in an Exmark.

    It has good compression yes?
    How many hours did you say?


    ZOOFULL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    Tried the mower out today to see if the problem would occur after a "warming up" period. It crapped out after about 5 minutes. Tried to run it with choke in to see if that affected it, but that made no difference. I'm taking it back to the dealer tomorrow <sigh>. One tip that I came across today was that it may be the diode of the coil pack.

    Mowerconsultant, did you get my email?
  9. mowerconsultant

    mowerconsultant LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Syracuse, NY
    Messages: 9,769

    I did get your e-mail, I just forwarded it to the regional rep for your area, he will get with your dealer and likely the Kawasaki rep also, and see what they can get done for you.


    ZOOFULL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    2) Dunno bout the mouse house. I'll check, but I doubt it.

    3) <<<Fuel filters replaced I'm sure.>>> Yep, replaced last fall before taken in for service, to no avail.

    4) As far as the intake manifold goes, the problem now shows up immediately upon starting

    5) Carb has been cleaned at least twice now in the last 8 months.

    6) I think the fuel line is sufficiently far enough away from heat sources to ensure this is not a problem, but I'll mention that to the dealer. Interestingly enough, one of the problems that is still possible is that the external vent on the carb is near a heat source and/or some blockage, which may result in symptoms like I'm seeing. I checked the routing of the tube/vent and it does not appear blocked or near enough to the exhaust IMO to be a problem.

    "It has good compression yes?"

    "How many hours did you say?"
    Have to check, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 hours

    Thanks for the suggestions jetskier.

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